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Detroit Historical Museum To Get Makeover

May 09 2012 | no comments


This week, Detroit 2020 is highlighting the arts in Detroit.

We have the first look at some big changes coming to the Detroit Historical Museum.

Three new permanent exhibits are being added to existing favorites like the “Streets of Old Detroit”.. which has been a Museum staple since it opened in 1951. A Sanders Ice Cream store will be one new storefront added during the renovation.

The museum will close on May 25th for 6 months for the renovations.

This venerable Detroit cultural institution is about to receive a fairly dramatic make-over.

The animation prepared for the Past>Forward fundraising campaign provides a vision for the transformation of some of the interior space for the new Gallery of Culture inside the Detroit Historical Museum.

“We’ve had some great success here in running the Detroit Historical Society, the museum and our other parts, in a very financially-responsible way. But we realize we need to change and we need to improve and enhance to continue to be an asset to this community” said Bob Bury, CEO of the Detroit Historical Society.

One new exhibit will be called “America’s Motor City.” Technology upgrades and improvements are planned to further engage visitors.

Also new to the Museum.. the “Gallery of Innovation.”

And Detroit’s role in the effort to arm America in World War II will be showcased in the exhibit, “Arsenal of Democracy.”

“The Doorway to Freedom” will be expanded as part of the renovation.  It tells the story of Detroit’s role in the Underground Railroad.

The outside plaza, fronting Woodward Avenue, will be transformed into the Detroit Legends Plaza.  Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline, radio legend Dick Purtan and Mayor Dave Bing are among the stars of sports, media, and entertainment who have already cast their handprints and signatures in cement.  They will be displayed prominently when the work outside is complete.

The $20 million dollar capital campaign along with the renovation and a re-branding of the Museum are all steps designed to keep it relevant for Detroiters.

The difficult economy has impacted operations, and government subsidies have been cut, forcing the Society to adapt.

“Compared to perhaps a decade or two ago, we operate very differently.  We operate like a business,” Bury told Detroit 2020.

“One of the great advantages we have, is, first of all, the location of this place, in Midtown, which, if you haven’t been here, is booming with people and booming with investment, and really a great place to be and we wanted to be a key part of that rebirth or renewal that’s really, in many ways, starting here,” Bury said.


Click here to go to the Detroit Historical Society website to learn more about the society and the Past>Foward campaign.

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